One Look is Worth a Thousand Words

•December 21, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Making Jane Austen's Emma

How many pages of description it takes to (inadequately) describe a scene in a period drama. With one glance at the film version we get the picture.

How quickly a televised debate or discussion gets zapped in most households. How much effort often goes into making it look more like TV than radio with pictures. I struggle to figure out how the visual media could do religion (well).

The Bible is pretty short on detail – big on nouns and verbs, not so many adjectives.  Let’s face it the hero is invisible (made flesh in the NT but we don’t even have a picture). And his followers “walk by faith not by sight”.

Christ is the Word made flesh – that works for an oral society and it works for a literary society but I’m not sure how the incarnation would have worked in a visual society … I’ll leave you to think though how that might have played out!

Amusing Ourselves To Death

•December 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I suppose Neil Postman wasn’t far from my thoughts when I added the weakest link line to my blog title. For all the expensive technology and the worthy intentions, television (Postman would claim electronic media in general but it has to be TV in particular) tends to the trivial. Sure as a bowling ball follows its bias, TV glorifies the banal and the extreme.

And, I suggest religious TV is no different. Flick through the channels; cast your eye down the titles and subject matter in the listings. Is there a channel that doesn’t purvey a series of programmes offering miracles or get rich quick schemes?

In my experience if you really want to hear God speak you’ll hear him clearest in a church or home Bible study near you.

The Medium Is The Message

•December 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Marshall McLuhan said it first and Christian attempts at TV (or video) raise a lot of questions about whether the medium is in any way compatible with the message.

Somehow video sermons or “Bible studies” just don’t do it for me. I’m not convinced the sermon is interactive enough at the best of times and a Bible study needs to be interactive not just spectating while two others interact.

Does TV trivialise everything it shows? Does its content have to be simplified to the point where it loses all significance? Years ago I came across Jerry Mander’s book Four Reasons for the Elimination of Television . OK it’s something of a polemic but one of his headings is “The Replacement Of Experience” and there is something anti-Christian about the substitutes TV prvides for experience and community.

Is it irredeemable? Suggestions on a postcard (a comment would do!). I’d suggest it’s proved useful to missionaries (as in far away, can’t easily be visited missionaries) but in terms of presenting the Christian message I think it’s pretty poor. For conveying the message it’s hard to beat a clothed in flesh illustration.

God on Demand

•June 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

It seems at the same time to be wholly inappropriate that the catch-up service for a religious channel should be “God on Demand” and yet utterly suited to an attitude that seems to pervade a lot of religious TV.

Maybe there is a subtle postmodern irony I’m missing but Calvinism it ain’t!


•June 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

OK, I think we probably accept that change is now the only constant. It’s as much to do with the technology we’ve embraced as anything else. Not only are things changing but they’re changing fast.

In a nutshell: James 1:17 “Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.”

Funny, it’s a theme that runs through the Bible – God doesn’t change, he’s consistent in every way. But change on our part is equally a theme (both our fickleness and also our need to change). Whatever about everything around us, we need to be constantly changing to become more like Christ. It can seem like we just can’t change – habits, personality, etc., but the Bible is built on the assumption we can!

Blog spot: – die with your boots on.

Free Downloads: a flurry of, in a wide range of styles Name Above All Names – Abundant Life Ministries (worship)
Finding Purpose – Faded Me (Indie rock)
I Choose – Beckah Shae (excellent pop tune!) (both hip hop/rap – listen to the lyrics) Membership – Stephen the Levite, The Invasion (Hero) – Trip Lee Sweeter – Joy Ike Great Is Your Power – Ian Yates (worship)

non-prodigal son

•June 14, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In a nutshell: never mind the prodigal son, what about the stay-at-home son? I’m inclined to feel a little bit sorry for him and that’s worrying. I guess Jesus maybe meant this part of the story for the likes of me. Look at the language the son uses. He talks about serving and he talks about doing what he’s been commanded. The father is quick to pick up on that. He points out that everything that’s his is the son’s. Maybe the penny dropped. If it did I bet there was a horrible sinking feeling. You mean I could have had a party anytime? You mean I’ve been trying to earn something that’s already mine? Agggh! How could I have got it so wrong? What a waste of so much of my life!

At Fuel 10 Mark Ritchie talked about what the older son should have done. He should have been out there, down the road walking his younger brother home. Reassuring him of his welcome. The challenge: who are we walking home. Instead of hit and run evangelism, who is there in our lives we’re taking time with bringing them home to the father’s welcome?

Blog spot: church mouse on World Cup in the Bible

Free downloads (sorry – you’d better be quick!) Forever Reign – Hillsong So What – 5 A.M. Praise Take The Lord With You – The Acapella Company & Testify – Joy Whitlock Didn’t play this one but just in case you’re keen: Sleep It Off – Blood and Water

Born Again Christian

•May 30, 2010 • Leave a Comment

In a Nutshell: John 3 v3 the term “born again” only appears in two passages in the Bible (this one and 1 Pet 1 v 23) and is only one of many vivid metaphors for salvation. Sadly, through much (often careless) use it has lost its ability to shock. What of the term “born again Christian” – would that be someone who’s been born 3 times (once physically, then has become a Christian only to be born once again)?

New birth is radical, it’s not turning over a new leaf but becoming new and starting all over again, learning and growing from scratch.

Blog spot: – allowing ourselves to be aligned to God.

Free downloads:

Everything You Ever Wanted – Hawk Nelson from

Show My Love – Ashmont Hill from